OROVILLE, Calif.- FLW College Fishing is headed to Lake Oroville Jan. 19 for the first of four stops in the Western Conference. Fifty college teams will be competing for a top award of $2,000 and a berth in the Western Conference Invitational tournament.
"This tournament will probably be won on some sort of umbrella rig," said Mercury pro Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., who has six career top-10 finishes on California fisheries in FLW competition. "The one I like and use is the Picasso School E Rig. Rig it with 3½-inch Yamamoto Swimbaits, and concentrate on the points and rocky bluffs. That will play a huge role there.
"If they weren't biting on the umbrella rig, my backup pattern would be a standard drop-shot rig," Ehrler continued. "I prefer to use a ¼-ounce sinker rigged with a No. #2 Gamakatsu Drop/Split Shot hook and a 4½-inch Roboworm. Pick your poison, any color should work."
Ehrler said the winter has been fairly cool and California has seen a pretty decent amount of rain, pushing water levels up a few feet. When water levels raise a couple of feet on eastern fisheries it can have a drastic effect on the fish. Not so on Lake Oroville, says Ehrler.
"In those deep clear lakes like Oroville and Shasta, there really isn't any cover in the water," he said. "When the water comes up it doesn't mean that there is more cover; it just means that there is more water. They're essentially going to be in the same spots.
"I'd tell the college anglers to just fish the main body of the lake; don't run up any of the creek arms," Ehrler went on to say. "Fish the main-lake points. Find areas that have a good, steep drop on it - pretty much anywhere in the main lake. If you throw the School E Rig or a drop-shot, you're going to be in great shape."
Ehrler predicts that the winning college team will bring 10 to 12 pounds to the scales.
Anglers will take off from Spillway Launch located off of the Oro Dam Blvd. on Canyon Road in Oroville, Calif., at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. Weigh-in will be held at the park beginning at 1:30 p.m. Takeoff and weigh-in are free and open to the public.
Schools competing in the Lake Oroville tournament, which is hosted by The City of Oroville, include:
Arizona State University - Austen Schmalz, San Carlos, Calif., and Jordan Schuler, Peoria, Ariz.
Arizona State University - Cody Corley, Chandler, Ariz., and Evan Anderson, Brooksfield, Ariz.
California Polytechnic State University - Kyle Greenlaw, Magalia, Calif., and John Zeolla, Oak Park, Calif.
California State University - Alex Pisarki, Costa Mesa, Calif., and Alfredo Gutierrez, Inglewood, Calif.
California State University-Chico - Andrew Loberg, Rocklin, Calif., and Brandon Walker, Carlsbad, Calif.
California State University-Chico - Nick Carrico, Oroville, Calif., and James Rodgers, Willows, Calif.
California State University-Chico - Koulton Westbrook and Kevin Chen, both of Vacaville, Calif.
California State University-Chico - Bo Harkins and Michael Braswell, both of Walnut Creek, Calif.
California State University-Fresno - Cory Kerber, Kerman, Calif., and Jeremy Pitts, Visalia, Calif.
California State University-Fresno - Dustin Franco, Hollister, Calif., and Joseph Piedimonte, Salinas, Calif.
California State University-Fresno - Kong Moua and Cynthia Vang, both of Fresno, Calif.
California State University-Fresno - Shai Van Gelder, Palo Alto, Calif., and Corey Harris, Fresno, Calif.
California State University-Fresno - Thomas Duval, Santa Cruz, Calif., and Moses Menchaca, Clovis, Calif.
California State University-Long Beach - Justin Gangel, Valley Center, Calif., and Alex Cox, Long Beach, Calif.
California State University-Monterey Bay - Andrew Sjostrom, Mariposa, Calif., and Joshua Smith, Clovis, Calif.
California State University-Monterey Bay - Arik Anastasiou, Discovery Bay, Calif., and Victoria Johnson, Marina, Calif.
California State University-Monterey Bay - Matthew Diaz and Sebastian Resendiz, both of Castroville, Calif.
California State University-Sacramento - Chase King, Lodi, Calif., and Seth Trujillo, Sacramento, Calif.
California State University-Sacramento - Jeremy Wallimann, Oakdale, Calif., and Christopher Wells, Twain Harte, Calif.
California State University-Sacramento - Joe Perna, Sacramento, Calif., and Jeff Taluban, Salinas, Calif.
California State University-Sacramento - Thomas Kanemoto, Elk Grove, Calif., and Kyle Derbish, San Bernardino, Calif.
Colorado State University - Alex Stuart and Austin Young, both of Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Colorado State University - Chris Sabina, Highlands Ranch, Colo., and Zachary Zasada, Greeley, Colo.
Dixie State College of Utah - Mathew Baker, Ogden, Utah and Nordel Erickson, St. George, Utah
Eastern Washington University - Cy Floyd, Wenatchee, Wash., and Mackenzi Brunner, Cheney, Wash.
Eastern Washington University - Tyler Wasiilewski, Cheney, Wash., and Jarid Gabbert, Spokane Valley, Wash.
Eastern Washington University - Nick Barr, Lacey, Wash., and Jarred Walker, Moses Lake, Wash.
Humboldt State University - Alex Robbins, Novato, Calif., and Jeffrey Russell, Eureka, Calif.
Humboldt State University - Andrew Chang, Rossmoor, Calif., and Erich Coulter, Castro Valley, Calif.
Humboldt State University - Derrick Hicks, Sacramento, Calif., and Christine Heckler, Folsom, Calif.
Humboldt State University - Joe Won, Cerritos, Calif., and Christopher Childers, McKinleyville, Calif.
Oregon State University - Ryan Lampi, Warrenton, Ore., and Scherf Montgomery, Fremont, Ohio
Oregon State University - Zach MacDonald, Willits, Calif., and Ryan Sparks, Haines, Alaska
San Jose State University - Andrew Sumi, San Francisco, Calif., and Jake Newby, San Jose, Calif.
San Jose State University - Anthony Lee, San Jose, Calif., and Travis Bounds, Roseville, Calif.
San Jose State University - Cody Wilson, Newark, Calif., and Adam McAndrews, Santa Clara, Calif.
Sonoma State University - Brendan Castro, Lafayette, Calif., and Brandon Fischer, Rohnert Park, Calif.
Sonoma State University - Adrien Briens and Ernest Gorham, both of Carlsbad, Calif.
University of California-Santa Cruz - Tyler Brownell, San Diego, Calif., and Jason Coslovich, San Jose, Calif.
University of California-Santa Cruz - Greg Christie, Paradise, Calif., and Jacob Sandler, Fairfax, Calif.
University of Colorado-Colorado Springs - Justin Solverson and Petei Decker, both of Colorado Springs, Colo.
University of Nevada-Reno - Brandon Cramer and Anthony Milano, both of Petaluma, Calif.
University of Oregon - Kaitlin Tanner, Missoula, Mont., and Eric Lee, Mather, Ore.
University of Oregon - Kyle Schneider, Beaverton, Ore., and David Wilson, Sacramento, Calif.
University of Oregon - Mitchell Cole, Jefferson, Ore., and Zachary Niesen, Mill Valley, Calif.
University of the Pacific - Ryan Tsuda, Gilroy, Calif., and Sean Widger, Tracy, Calif.
Utah Valley University - Aaron Warner, Orem, Utah, and Cathleen Martinez, Spanish Fork, Utah
Utah Valley University - Seth Hausman, Sandy, Utah, and Weston Brierly, Eagle Mountain, Utah
Utah Valley University - Tate Brown, Heber, Utah, and Zachari Taylor, Hansen, Idaho
FLW College Fishing teams compete in four qualifying events in one of five conferences - Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top fifteen teams from each regular-season tournament will qualify for one of five conference invitational tournaments. The top ten teams from each conference invitational tournament will advance to the 2014 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
College Fishing is free to enter and FLW provides boats and drivers for each competing team along with travel allowances. All participants must be registered, full-time undergraduate students at a four-year college or university and members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university.
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FLW is the industry's premier tournament-fishing organization, providing unparalleled fishing resources and entertainment to our sponsors, fans and host communities. FLW is offering anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in 2013 over the course of 231 tournaments across five tournament circuits, four of which provide an avenue to the sport's richest payday and most coveted championship trophy - the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW is committed to providing a lifestyle experience that is the "Best in Fishing, On and Off the Water," through a variety of platforms including tournaments, outdoor expos and FLW Fantasy Fishing. For more information about FLW and FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FLWOutdoors.com or FantasyFishing.com and look for FLW on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube.